JB Hi-Fi has begun selling the TCL-backed “minimalist” Palm phone close to a year after it went on sale overseas.
The phone has a smaller display than the original iPhone and is limited to just 3GB RAM and 32GB of storage, but still comes with a hefty $699 price tag.
The device is being sold as an amulet against an overly digital world where excessive connectivity is being blamed for increased workplace stress, sometimes known as “burnout”.
The Palm promises to “let” users “rethink” how they connect with the world while still having all the “essential” smartphone features.
One method for this is through digital wellbeing features such as “Life Mode”, which silences incoming calls and notifications when the display is turned off, similar to the Do Not Disturb modes on other Android and iOS devices.
The phone’s diminutive size and its 3.3-inch display bucks the trend for bigger phones in an effort to appeal to “digital minimalists” and people with “active lifestyles… who live their lives outside of the screen”.
Palm has tweaked Android OS for its small display, with apps being accessed in a circular scroll similar to an Apple Watch.
Gestures, voice control and quick actions are also touted as improvements that make the small phone more usable.
Biometrics is limited to facial as there’s no room on the phone for a fingerprint scanner.
Cardless digital payments are also out of the question with no NFC on-board.
Battery life is limited to just over 3 hours talk time thanks to a tiny 800mAh battery, but Palm quotes a standby time of more than 3 days.
While the battery life sounds low, it might be passable on a phone that’s designed to not be used that much.
The Palm was initially offered as a companion device providing a stripped down smartphone experience, similar to products like the credit-card sized Light.
The Australian release will see the Palm as an independent phone that takes a 4G nano SIM.
The Palm name was acquired by TCL in 2015 from HP, who acquired the company, famous for their pre-smartphone personal digital assistants, five years earlier.